Charity • Chief Executive • Health Scientist • Researcher • Author

Dog-Lover • Foodie • Reader • Writer • Wine-lover • Sea-lover • Music-lover


I didn’t start off too well, truth be told.  I had some challenges in my youth and it took more time than I would have liked to get myself on the straight and narrow.  It is also pretty difficult to get an education when you have to work to support yourself.

I was 33 before I gained my first degree – a BSc (Hons) in Applied Social Sciences and whilst working full-time that took me six years through the Open University.

I lurched head first into a PhD at the age of 39 with the University of York.  No Masters for me – why would I choose the easy, and arguably sensible, route, especially when I had a high-profile, and demanding job to hold down.  This approach continued in my doctorate (who am I kidding – it has probably become a signature of my life) when I chose to complete a mixed methods study (that is qualitative and quantitative – in other words statistics and interviews). Eight, yes eight, years later I completed and passed my doctorate, graduating in 2014.


imageI have worked for nearly the last two decades in the field of Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and am currently the CEO of the Encephalitis Society.

I have also set up my own business to help small to medium sized charities.

You can read more about both of these interests by clicking on the relevant pages at the top of my blog site.


I just bought a new t-shirt which reads “More issues than Vogue” – given that I believe that to be true then getting as far as I have in my personal life, academically, and in my career are my greatest achievements.

Becoming Dr Ava Easton along with the publication of my first book Life After Encephalitis are two stand-out moments for me.  The launch of the book at The Guardian and also the outstanding review of the book by the Lancet Neurology are also memories I will treasure.

I was also honoured to be invited by The Queen to her Diamond Jubilee Garden Party at Buckingham Palace (2012) in recognition of my work in encephalitis, and in 2018 I also received an Award from her High Sherriff in North Yorkshire for my work to the encephalitis community.

In 2017 the Encephalitis Society won the Charity Times “Charity of the Year” award which are like the Oscars of the charity world and I would like to think my leadership of the organisation contributed in some way to that amazing accolade.  I have also been recognised in the Top 30 Social CEOs in 2014 and 2017.

IMG_0418 2
Charity of the Year 2017 – me with chum Rebecca Adlington, my two right-hand women at work – Phillippa and Julia and an array of wonderful guests!


Some of my likes are listed at the top of the page however I guess I can’t call this blog the “musings and meanderings of a misanthrope” without sharing some of the things I like less (I fear this list may increase substantially as this blog takes shape and I will no doubt be blogging about some of these things in due course). So here goes:

  • Cruelty and torture of any animal or sentient being.
  • People who slam doors in hotels (through my work I spend a good deal of time in hotels, on train, in airports etc).
  • People who step off escalators and just stop (and am already angry-typing and have a shouty voice in my head!).
  • People who bag up their dog-poo and then chuck the bag in the countryside or in trees!
  • loading my hands with soap in the train toilet to find out there is no water!
  • Passive aggressive people.
  • Toxic people.
  • People who can’t spell or say my first name correctly (it is only three letters.  Seriously, how hard can it be!?).
  • People who put seats back on planes.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Natalie MacKenzie

    Misanthrope? I think not I’d call these normal responses to behaviour that is, at best, thoughtless. Can I add

    1) irregular underground users who stand still in the middle of the platform during rush hour to look at the map.
    2) those who use phrases such as “the wow factor”
    3) those in the public eye who answer a different question to the one they are asked?

    I look forward to reading more posts.

    Liked by 1 person


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